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Dino Lenny: Cocaine, The 80s & Why London Is Wicked But Italy is Better

Author: Benedetta Skrufff
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Italo-house legend Dino Lenny first found fame in 1989, teaming up to release Cocaine with his then production partner Claudio Cocculutto. 14 years later he remains at or near the top of the dance music tree, recently enjoying a club hit with Change The World, an unusual song based on a Housemartins track. He also remains prolific through a variety of pseudonyms, notably his electroclash persona Andrea Doria.

"I am a big fan of the '80s, more so than the 90s," he told Skrufff in a recent chat.

"Musically I'm up for everything, to concentrate just on one style is boring."

Though while he's happy to plunder his musical past for inspiration, concerning the subject of his 1989 hit, he's less than interested.

"Cocaine is a great drug, but it's boring," he suggests.

"After taking it for a while it makes you feel like a statue." And as well as rejecting coke he's turned his back on getting high in general.

"If I don't have fun, I'm not going to force myself to have fun by taking drugs. It may sound boring, but you can't keep doing certain things forever," says Dino.

Skrufff: What made you decide to turn a track like Change The World into a house tune-

Dino Lenny: "I was never a big fan the Housemartins, simply because in Italy we weren't exposed to or educated to that style of music, that very British sound they have… But I happened to find a copy of their album in a studio one day when I was going through the tracks looking for sounds to sample. I happened to pick that particular one. I never thought it would have work actually, but it did. We then received a call from someone who told us that Fatboy Slim really liked the song. He actually called Radio One to find out who made the track and then called us as well."

Skrufff: Had you crossed paths with Fatboy Slim before-

Dino Lenny: "Not really. I've always lived in Italy and I moved over in the UK only three or four years ago. We could have met, but I don't go out much to be honest. I tend to spend a lot of time in the studio."

Skrufff: Your British accent is flawless…

Dino Lenny: "I was actually born in Lewisham (South East London), but at the age of five I moved back to Italy with my family, who had also been living and working in the UK for 30 years. I never planned to come back to the UK, but after 10 years of making records, I decided to take the next step and move over here again."

Skrufff: I guess you grew up speaking both languages-

Dino Lenny: "Two months after I moved back to Italy I couldn't speak any English anymore. When you're that young you learn languages very quickly, but you also forget them equally quickly. When I came back here I was very surprised not to have lost my accent, I still miss a few words, though…"

Skrufff: Do you have many English friends-

Dino Lenny: "Well, just the people I work with… I don't mix with an Italian community either. I'm mainly over here for work and not for pleasure. Sometimes we have reunions at football matches, for example, but as soon as I get the chance I fly back to Italy. London is wicked but Italy is better."

Skrufff: What makes it better-

Dino Lenny: "When you've lived in one place for 25 years, even seeing the tree that has grown next to your house, brings you pleasure. I'm that kind of person who gets homesick. The single fact that my family is based there makes Italy 'better' to me. My roots are in Italy despite that I was actually born in Lewisham. Having said that though, I feel a little bit English too…"

Skrufff: how do you see the state of dance music today-

Dino Lenny: "I feel all today's music spans from the '80's and I am a big fan of the '80s, more so than the 90s, which were more centred around clubbing. Musically I'm up for everything, to concentrate just on one style is boring. My next single for example, will have me singing, it's dance music, but not house. I was also a big fan of The Cure and I now<